Speak of the Devil – Getting through Language Assessments

Worried about your first language assessment? Trying desperately, for the millionth time in your uni career, to find a way out of doing an oral presentation? Getting to the end of your degree and realising that you’re not confident using the language you’ve been studying? No matter your level, with first major assessments coming up, Unimelb Adventures has some great recommendations for the aspiring multilingual speakers out there!

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Kathryn Shanks – 4th Year – DipLang: German 1 – 6

As I didn’t have the opportunity to study a language in high school, I was super keen to get involved with German Studies at uni, jumping in at the first level. I’ve since gone from German 1 to German 6 over three years, plus two cultural studies classes – and it’s been an incredible experience.

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  • Linguee

Linguee is an excellent online dictionary that gives full sentences as examples, so you can figure out in what contexts certain words are used. It’s well worth bookmarking, and it has a really easy-to-use app.

  • Quizlet

Another helpful tool is Quizlet (or any flashcards app), because there’s a tonne of vocabulary to learn in German – especially for the vocab-specific quizzes in first year! Just make sure you’re also learning the gender (der/die/das) and the plural forms of nouns, as well as whether verbs are regular or irregular.

Nicole Hart – 1st Year – DipLang: Spanish 5

This is the highest level Spanish entry point at Unimelb so you better have some conocimiento de español! I lived in Spain back in 2017 so was a bit rusty at the start of semester but have found my rhythm now. Other than from being able to use my love of reggaeton Latin beats to get me through, being able to call watching a movie homework, and listening to Chilean folkloric songs research, here are some other tried-and-tested study recommends:

  • Language Clubs

Need some extra help practicing your Spanish? There are language clubs on campus where you can spend time with fellow students to help both of you improve, as well as a Language Exchange Club where you can practise with native speakers!

  • Facebook

If you’re feeling muy aventurero (very adventurous), use Facebook and Meetup where you’ll find stacks of language groups of every variety! I’m a member of Españoles en Melbourne (you do have to ‘apply’ in Spanish to justify being in the group) and so far I’ve played tennis, had dinner, drinks, and salsa danced with many a Spaniard since I joined. They love teaching me Spanish slang, plus it’s fun for them because it can be very hard to make non-Spanish friends in Australia.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

My ultimate advice would be to get out there, meet some people and step outside of your comfort zone. The amount of grammar exercises you have done becomes irrelevant once you’re in the real world. After having learnt Swedish and Spanish from scratch I realise that on the path to becoming fluent you have to be willing to get it wrong. In the end even if you say something incredibly offensive by accident just look on the bright side – you couldn’t get a better icebreaker if you tried!

Jess Gilham – 2nd Year – Breadth: Japanese 1 – 3

Knowing that I am in my second year here at Uni and attempting Japanese 3…yes, you heard that right – attempting…is such a crazy thought! I have only been studying this language for just over a year now but I’ve learnt so much in such a short amount of time!

Like most of you out there, I had to study a language throughout my high school years. I will admit, I only lasted as many years of French as was compulsory – the worst part of 3 tedious years. I was so convinced that I was a poor-language learner and that I would never in my life learn another language that I don’t think I could have imagined myself doing Japanese in Uni.

But here I am! With wisdom to share, no less. For those currently partaking in any Japanese language classes here at Uni, I have a few resources that you should check out:

  • Hello Talk

Hello Talk is an iOS app that connects language users all over the world. It’s essentially a language exchange app that allows you to converse with people in the country of your target language. They have public notice boards where people can correct your statements and work, and can chat one-on-one with users via messages or even online calls which are completely free!

  • GENKI Flashcards

Another great resource is the GENKI flashcard apps if you’re too busy to create your own flashcards or you aren’t able to bring them with you. It’s a paid app, but very affordable!

  • Just give it a go!

I won’t lie to you, there have been a few moments of complete confuzzlement where I questioned my sanity, but all-in-all I was sold by the end of my first class. For those not currently studying Japanese, I completely recommend using any resources you can, and signing up at uni when you get the chance!

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